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Marvelous Minerals


  08:12:54 pm, by Nimble   , 437 words  
Categories: Distractions

Marvelous Minerals

On a little trip to Banff with the in-laws, after having visited the place on and off over the years, I decided to actually buy something at the Rocks & Gems Canada store. This place is filled to the gunwales with rocks, minerals, jewelery, gems and fossils. I bought three things for myself, and some presents for Dena. I was a little disappointed to find out that the quartz was artificial (in that the titanium is deposited on it), but it is beautiful all the same.

Here is what I got:

Titanium Quartz

Titanium quartz is otherwise natural quartz that's been treated with titanium vapour to give some pretty nice colour, like putting Mirage coating on a gold car, also reminiscent of chalcopyrite.

What!? my spell-checker doesn't know chalcopyrite? Actually, chalcopyrite is dear to my heart now not just because I managed to pull the name out of the veritable bowels of my brain when trying to describe a particular gold/green/blue/purple colour, but Dena thought I was making up the name when I did so :)

(Oh boy, titanium quartz bla bla energizing bla bla chakra bla as well! Heh.)

Bismuth Crystal

This is also artificial, though necessary to get an actual bismuth crystal, since bismuth is usually found mixed in with other metals. This is the piece I really like - it crystallizes semi-pyramidally and has squarish curls in it. The piece here that I have is hollow underneath, and the underside is also interesting. It's got some pretty good weight to it. The colours themselves are a natural artifact of the crystal, not painted on. It's a somewhat soft metal, though - the crystals can't take a lot of abuse.

People just don't know much about bismuth, as I found out! They don't know it's involved in Pepto-Bismol, or that it's used in environmentally-friendly (but not bird-friendly) bird shot as an alternative to lead, or that it's spelled with an s and not a z (watching people Google gives such things away *chuckle*)


We're not too far away from some good fossil beds. The famed Burgess Shale is a hop, skip and a jump away (well, it's north of Emerald Lake by the BC/Alberta border). There are some amazing fossils in the stores of Banff, many decidedly collector's items.

This particular piece has trilobites from two different species. We both liked it because the smaller trilobite up close seems to have two babies close by. Whether this is truly the case, or whether these two tiny critters are something else entirely, I know not.

Now I just have to find a place to put them to enjoy them :)

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